MARCHING  TO  ONE  DRUMMER

MANILA
, DECEMBER 22, 2007  (STAR) LODESTAR By Danton Remoto - Pride March 2007 was celebrated last Saturday, Dec. 8, at Rajah Sulayman Plaza in Malate, with many new and young members joining. Task Force Pride Philippines, the event organizer, chose the theme “Got Pride!” for this year’s march. It is a statement that every proud lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender should claim when asked about his or her identity. It is a statement, a declaration, a celebration — or all of the above.

Our march was also held to highlight the need to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill filed in Congress by Akbayan Party-List Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel. I am part of Lagablab, the advocacy group that wrote a draft of this anti-discrimination bill. This bill criminalizes and penalizes acts of discrimination and oppression against members of the LGBT community. It is a bill that promotes equal rights and not special rights. And contrary to the gossip coming from the nay-sayers, there is no same-sex marriage provision in this Anti-Discrimination Bill.

Task Force Pride Philippines, founded in 1999, is a network of LGBT groups and individuals that seek to promote the visibility of the LGBT community. It is composed of Akbayan Party List, Ang Ladlad Party List, TLF Share Collective, UP Babaylan, Strap Philippines, Lesbian Advocates Philippines, Womyn Supporting Womyn Center, Metropolitan Community Church Manila and individuals. This year’s Pride March partners and sponsors are EZ lubricating jelly, Frenzy condoms, Palawan Bar, Radar Pride wear, WISE Inc., and Government Bar. This year’s coordinator is Eva Callueng.

For the first time in Pride March history, a photo teaser and video presentation was also produced for the event. Media Committee Coordinator Rey Banag helmed the creation of the photo and video presentations. The photo can be accessed at YouTube by typing tlf-pride march. The video presentation can be seen at http://gaydiatrix.multiply.com/video/item/19/Pride_march_video.

The video was made possible by the above-mentioned sponsors, plus donations from Senator Mar Roxas II, Senator Chiz Escudero, and Ang Ladlad Party List.

I was happy to be among friends who gathered together for this annual celebration of pride and not prejudice. We were there to highlight the power of the Pink Peso and of the Pink Vote, which we will test in the elections of 2010. I am also happy because of the presence of new groups and alliances composed of young people. For instance, Ang Ladlad has a delegation from Boys’ Legion, a clan of young gays, and a youth delegation from schools in Navotas, Caloocan, and Malabon.

That day the air was pink and festive, as shown by these colorful photos taken by Jasper Espejo, who designed the cover of my latest book, Ladlad 3, co-edited with Neil Garcia (Anvil Publishing). We also marched to one drummer, and it was the Ati-Atihan drums rocking the day with hope.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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